Hi Eugene Mamas :)
I know there have been a ton of threads and conversations about Eugene schools, and I have read through them all. Nothing previously discussed seems to meet my needs though, so I am hoping for some input or suggestions. Right now my son is 4, and is enrolled at a Montessori school in Eugene. Academically, it is right up his alley, and he is thriving on the learning environment.
Emotionally - not so much. There are a number of factors that have snowballed into my decision to remove him from the school. What it really boils down to is that he needs a classroom environment that has very nurturing and welcoming adults. He is confident and talkative at home, and in environments where he feels comfortable, but his classroom is not providing him with this comfort level. He needs teachers/adults in the classroom who are sensitive and friendly. His current teacher is very formal, and completely unaware and insensitive to his shyness and anxiety. One of his reactions to feeling intimidated is to increase his energy level - he sometimes gets this frantic, panicked energy. Sometimes he starts acting like a cat, or making meowing noises to communicate because he wants attention, but he is not feeling confident enough or assertive enough to approach the teacher with real words. She has labelled this as "naughty" behavior, which is not helping her already unapproachable demeanor.
He also had a very, very hard time with the holiday concert, stating firmly that he refused to go or to participate. He is prone to anxiety, and performing is high on the list of anxiety triggers. I was able to talk to him extensively about it, and we came up with the idea of him bringing his transitional object (a stuffed cat that he has had since 9 mos old) and holding her while he was on stage with his class, doing the songs. He did great for the first number, dancing across the stage with his cat, but when they went offstage to prep for the next number, he returned a few minutes later in tears and absolutely panic stricken. I had to go up on stage and take him down. He was in fearful hysterics. I found out later that his teacher had told him he could not have his cat on stage, and she took it away from him. As soon as he burst into tears, she gave it back, but the damage had been done, and once she broke through that very tenuous hold he had on his nerves (held together mostly by his stuffed cat, I think), there was no regaining it.
I have decided that the school is not giving him what he needs emotionally, and he needs a classroom that is able to give him the great academic and learning experience he is receiving, while still being accepting of his sensitive nature. At this point in the year, most places are going to be full. Moss St. is full, which was my first choice. If anyone can think of a great preschool classroom you know of that might fit our needs, please, please let me know. I am feeling desperate for my son's sake. As an example, it is december, and he still cries and clings to me when I drop him off in the morning. 3 months is way too long for a little one to be dreading the drop-off, and this is not his first school experience. He was in a home daycare for 2 years previously. He is not unfamiliar with being separated from me during the day, he is just acutely unhappy where he is now :(